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National Assembly vets candidates for NEC chair

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Headquarters for the National Election Committee in Chamkarmon district. Hong Menea

National Assembly vets candidates for NEC chair

Two new candidates have been identified by the National Assembly (NA) for the position of chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC). The NA is looking for a replacement for Sik Bun Hok, who recently resigned as chairman due to health problems.

This comes as National Police chief Neth Savoeun instructs officers to prepare to provide security to the pilot run of the commune election process, which will take place on June 20.

NA secretary-general Leng Peng Long told The Post on June 8 that the NA had received two new candidates for NEC chairman by June 8 and that the deadline for applications is June 11.

He said that after the deadline the NA will convene a regular meeting to determine which candidate would be most suitable for the position. Once a candidate is determined to be the most qualified, then the standing committee will select them as the new NEC chairman to replace the ailing Bun Hok.

Peng Long has not yet revealed the identities of the two candidates, pending a decision from the NA’s permanent committee, and he could not say whether there would be any more candidates to apply.

According to the law, any member of the public can apply for the position as NEC chairman as long as they believe they have sufficient qualifications.

“First, we select a candidate from among the public and then we check how many candidates there are total. Then we take the candidates and discuss the matter with the party that elected Bun Hok and choose one of them,” he said.

Bun Hok was allowed by the NA’s permanent committee to resign from his position as NEC chairman on June 4, after he submitted his resignation on June 1 due to health reasons.

NEC deputy secretary-general Som Soreida said Bun Hok’s resignation due to his worsening health condition was to avoid his possible absence from his duties during the upcoming commune council elections on June 20.

National police chief Savoeun on June 7 instructed all 25 capital-provincial police chiefs to organise their forces to provide security for the pilot election.

According to Savoeun, during the pilot election a total of 700 officers will be placed in key target areas across the country.

National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said that every election organised by the NEC always involves the police forces providing security and protecting Cambodian democracy.

“Our forces have experience with election security work because Cambodia has held elections many times, but this is a pilot election – not a general election – so only select communes will participate in one province,” he said.

However, he said that the National Police was also ready to intervene to prevent any irregularities or incidents, include patrolling around polling stations and counting stations and responding if anyone breaks into a polling station.

According to NEC, the pilot election will be held nationwide. Each province and capital selects only one commune as a sample and there will be two polling stations for each commune or district. One station must be located in a town – and the other away from the town – and they must have a maximum of 500 voters.

NEC is conducting this pilot election for the purpose of testing a computerised voter registration programme and to gain experience in implementing measures to prevent and prevent epidemics like Covid-19 from being transmitted in polling stations.

They will also check the effectiveness of new ballot designs and test the software used to verify and summarize the results of the computerised election.

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